Excess respiratory mortality and hospitalizations associated with influenza in Australia, 2007-2015

Vivian K Y Leung, Jessica Y Wong, Roseanne Barnes, Joel Kelso, George J Milne, Christopher C Blyth, Benjamin J Cowling, Hannah C Moore, Sheena G Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Influenza is the most common vaccine-preventable disease in Australia, causing significant morbidity and mortality. We assessed the burden of influenza across all ages in terms of influenza-associated mortality and hospitalizations using national mortality, hospital-discharge and influenza surveillance data.

METHODS: Influenza-associated excess respiratory mortality and hospitalization rates from 2007 to 2015 were estimated using generalized additive models with a proxy of influenza activity based on syndromic and laboratory surveillance data. Estimates were made for each age group and year.

RESULTS: The estimated mean annual influenza-associated excess respiratory mortality was 2.6 per 100 000 population [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.8, 3.4 per 100 000 population]. The excess annual respiratory hospitalization rate was 57.4 per 100 000 population (95% CI: 32.5, 82.2 per 100 000 population). The highest mortality rates were observed among those aged ≥75 years (35.11 per 100 000 population; 95% CI: 19.93, 50.29 per 100 000 population) and hospitalization rates were also highest among older adults aged ≥75 years (302.95 per 100 000 population; 95% CI: 144.71, 461.19 per 100 000 population), as well as children aged <6 months (164.02 per 100 000 population; 95% CI: -34.84, 362.88 per 100 000 population). Annual variation was apparent, ranging from 1.0 to 3.9 per 100 000 population for mortality and 24.2 to 94.28 per 100 000 population for hospitalizations. Influenza A contributed to almost 80% of the average excess respiratory hospitalizations and 60% of the average excess respiratory deaths.

CONCLUSIONS: Influenza causes considerable burden to all Australians. Expected variation was observed among age groups, years and influenza type, with the greatest burden falling to older adults and young children. Understanding the current burden is useful for understanding the potential impact of mitigation strategies, such as vaccination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-467
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Volume51
Issue number2
Early online date1 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

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